foto: Eric Guillemain
Anamaria Vartolomei is one of the tens of thousands of romanian children whose parents wished a better life for them and left to work abroad. Ana was born in a village in Bacau and has started over in a foreign country when she was only 6 years old. This turned out to be the opportunity of her life.
“I was born in Bacău in 1999 and I grew up in Plopu, a village next to the town of Dărmănești, with my grandparents, until the age of 6, my parents having left to France since I was 2.”
That is how Anamaria begins her story in the interview she agreed to do for Cultura la dubă, just a few days after the prestigious César Academy from France included her in a small selection of revelations of 2021 in cinema, for her role in the film Just Kids.
Anamaria Vartolomei has caught the eye of filmmakers when she was only 12, after playing her first part in a feature film.
She was chosen to star in a story directed by the Romanian born French actress and director, Eva Ionesco – My Little Princess, inspired by the director’s life. In her childhood, Eva Ionesco was photographed in nude by her mother, Irina Ionesco. At that time, in the 70’s, those photographs raised controversy.
In My Little Princess, Anamaria acted in similar scenes, and her courage and talent have been appreciated by critics. She stared along with Isabelle Huppert, and was nominated for that role at the Lumière Awards, for the most promising young actress in 2012.
Since then not only her talent, but also her extraordinary beauty have caught the eye of the French press. Young Ana has been, for a few years, a constant presence at Chanel fashion shows and the film roles have continued to come.
Beyond the charm of France and the elegance of the events she’s in, Ana prides herself with her origins and talks about her home country in foreign press interviews.
We had this conversation in romanian, a language that Anamaria speaks as though she had never left the country.
Ana, please tell us, what is your relationship with Romania and with France. When and why did you leave Bacău?
My parents left the country to build a better future and to offer a wider, more offering chance. I joined them when I was 6 and this is where we settled, we grew, we developed.
Anamaria Vartolomei, actress
“Romania is my home land, and France is the cosmopolitan, open and diverse country that has adopted me and allowed me to do my work passionately.”
How did your passion toward acting start and how did it evolve? What studies do you have in the field?
My primary school had different extracurricular activities: theater, poetry, stage-play. A friend of mine enlisted and I followed her. That’s how my interest started. I liked it so much that I asked my parents to take me to theater courses outside the school.
In that period, my father, who has a construction firm, was working for a theater actress. He spoke to her about me and she suggested i enrolled in an online casting website. Browsing around, I came across the casting call for My Little Princess, directed by Eva Ionesco.
The cherry on top: she was of romanian origins! Physically, I corresponded to the requirements for the role so I went to the auditions. Eva chose me to play Violeta and ever since, I’ve never wanted to do anything else.
She pointed me toward Cours Florent, a renown theater school in Paris, where I studied for 2 years. And two years ago, I took another theater class called Les Enfants Terribles. They were both interesting, but to me the film set remains the best class, and my acting partners, the best teachers.
The César Academy chose you as one of the revelations for 2021, for your role in Just Kids. What does that mean to you?
The César revelations are chosen by a committee of casting directors. So it’s comforting, I would say, to have their validation, support and encouragement. It’s already a great reward!
How did your parents react when you told them that you wanted to pursue acting?
My parents have always supported me. They were open-minded and understanding of a role that most other parents would have turned down.
I’m enormously thankful for the balance and support they give me.
Do you speak to each other in french or romanian?
We speak Romanian. Mixed with French, to be honest (laughs), but to us, our roots are precious and it is important to keep our native language.
You are very beautiful! Who do you resemble in your family?
Thank you! I would say that I’m a mixture between both of my parents, but mostly my father. I’ve inherited my eyes from my mother’s grandmother.
How did you manage to break through in such a difficult field, with such high competition?
Hard work, as in any other field, there’s no secret about it. Faith, determination and a good team.
Family is the personal team that knows you better than anyone else and guides you best when in doubt, and the professional team: the film agent and the image agent. They’re there to help you chose, make yourself special, to understand some of the industry rules, so you know how to use them.
“It is essential to be surrounded by good people, but the most important is to remain true to yourself and follow your instinct. By doing that, you can’t fail.”
Would you like to work with any Romanian director?
Yes, I would love to! I admire the unique sensibility and raw dimension of Romanian cinema. Cristian Mungiu is a filmmaker who I keep in great respects and I would love to be directed by him. Two years ago I saw One Step Behind the Seraphim by Daniel Sandu, in the Romanian film festival in Paris and I loved it.
It’s funny that a year later I was chosen to be part of the jury at the Effervescence film festival in Macon, a French city, and this film was in the main competition. We unanimously voted for it and I swear that I haven’t influenced my colleagues.
“Romanian cinema has a lot to offer, it’s a cinema of sentiment, of truth, and I’m very proud of it.”
From what you’ve said I understand that you’re attracted more toward film acting than theater. Is that correct?
I don’t know, as I said earlier, I took only theater classes and the academical aspect sort of froze me up. I enjoy the spontaneity of cinema and maybe also the fact that when you make a mistake, you can do it again. On the stage it’s more complicated.
But theater offers an impressive technique, and when you come across genius works from Shakespeare, Musset, Moliere or Racine and you confront their characters’ issues, cinema may seem simpler.
What ties you to Romania now?
Memories, family, people I know and I love Romania for it’s beauty, delicious food, dreamy popular music and our cheerfulness.
Where do you see yourself in the future, what would you like to do the most?
It’s difficult to make a projection because the medium I’m passionate about and in which I have decided to perform can not allow it. It’s hard to feel like an actress when everything can stop in a moment. But I hope, God willing, that I will grow old on the film set.
Other than acting, what are your other passions? How do you like spending your free time?
As any other girl my age, I think, I like spending time with my friends, music, reading, dancing and travelling. I can’t wait for cinemas to reopen, concert halls, restaurants and museums… We need them greatly!